Real Weddings – Helen & Alan

On a wonderful weekend at the start of July, Alan & Helen made their way to Barnsley House with their close friends & family, to say their “I do’s”….  almost a year later we caught up with the happy couple to ask some questions about how they found the planning process and any tips they would give to other couples!
 What made you choose Barnsley House for your wedding venue?
We only viewed 3 potential venues, as we were clear on what we wanted: exclusive use, not too big, fabulous accommodation for our friends and family, a beautiful setting and first-rate food and drink. Barnsley House delivered on all of those and we knew within a few minutes that we’d found our perfect venue.  
How did you find the planning process for the whole wedding?
Surprisingly stress free! The team at Barnsley House left us in no doubt that they knew what they were doing and we felt that we were in good hands the whole time. A definite highlight of the planning process was coming to Barnsley House to taste all the food and wine, to choose our wedding breakfast menu. Great fun. 
Any tips or tricks you picked up along the way?
Someone told us that if your guests are well fed and watered, they’ll be happy and we focussed on that, rather than things that were less important to us, such as group photographs or lots of floral arrangements. Sandwiches were provided at lunchtime, so that no-one got too hungry before the wedding breakfast and the bar was open before the ceremony too! 
Any advice you would give couples looking for a venue?
You can do a lot of research on the web and narrow down your list without having to spend too much time viewing them. It’s useful to visit the venue at the same time of year as your wedding will be taking place, as it may look quite different depending on the season. Also consider both the ‘good weather’ and ‘rainy day’ options of any venue. We were lucky with the weather and held our ceremony outside but if it had rained, our ‘Plan B’, (to hold the ceremony in the dining room), would have been fine too. 
Other than the ‘I do’s’ (!) what was your favourite part of your day?
We had a 5-piece woodwind quintet to play before and after the ceremony and sitting together, while they played a couple of special pieces, just for us, was lovely. The speeches were great fun too. We both made a speech. We hadn’t realised how much our guests would heckle us but we enjoyed every minute of it. 
What was your inspiration for your wedding?
We wanted our wedding to be a house party for all our favourite people. The theme was essentially ‘fun’ and there were lots of activities on the Saturday morning  – such as duck herding and a tennis tournament – but if people just wanted to relax in the spa, we stressed that was fine too. 
Did you have any favours? And if so why did you choose them?
We didn’t have favours but instead, given Alan’s Scottish roots, we had flasks of whisky on every table and we served post-pudding espresso martinis, which were very well received! 
Do you have any advice for another couple you wish someone had told you?
Make sure you have a few minutes together during the day just to breathe… and take it all in. Everyone says it goes by in a flash and it’s true.  

Photography by Matt Davis